Being a nation of 200 million sweet-lovers, it's no surprise that Brazil celebrates this love affair with a national Fair. It's called FENADOCE, which is an abbreviation of its name in Portuguese, A Feira Nacional do Doce. It is held every year in the southern Brazilian town of Pelotas, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. In 2010, FENADOCE will be celebrating its 18th annual fair, from the 26th of May to the 13th of June.
The culture of sweets and sweet baking in Pelotas was inherited through the recipes brought to this city by the first Portuguese immigrants in the middle of the 18th Century. These immigrants brought with them such marvels as: ninhos, fios-de-ovos, babas-de-moça, camafeus, papos-de-anjo, canudinhos recheados, pastéis de Santa Clara and many more.
Later Italian and German immigrants became of the culture, each group bringing with them recipes for sweets and desserts. At that time, home gatherings and parties were showcases of sweets, since for the immigrant cultures sugar and sweet things were elements of any celebration. Immigrant families had traditions of passing on recipe for the families' favorite sweets from generation to generation.
Today Pelotas has become a place where artesanal production of sweets has combined with industrial production technique to create an ever-growing industry in our city. Because of this, the sweets of Pelotas are not just known locally, but are valued throughout Brazil.
The fair not only has food, but a variety of entertainment, from music, to clowns, to dance and theater. But the traditional sweets of Pelotas are still it's raison d'être. Here is a visual sampling:
In the next few posts, I will translate some of the recipes for traditional sweets that can be found on the website of FENADOCE.